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The Race to the White House

5 Big Questions About Election 2020—Answered

Don’t forget to vote! Once you’ve read this story, cast your ballot for president in our Scholastic Student Vote.

Don’t forget to vote! Once you’ve read this story, cast your ballot for president in our Scholastic Student Vote.

Don’t forget to vote! Once you’ve read this story, cast your ballot for president in our Scholastic Student Vote.

    It’s been a year of major challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic has put lives at risk around the world. Businesses have shut down to fight the virus. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs. Millions more have taken to the streets to protest racism and police violence. These issues will be on everyone’s mind on November 3. That’s when people across the country will vote in national, state, and local elections. The leaders they choose will shape our world for years to come. Here’s what you need to know about Election 2020. 

This year has been filled with challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic has put lives at risk. Businesses have shut down. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs. Millions more are protesting racism and police violence. People will be thinking about these issues on November 3. That’s when people across the country will vote. They will vote in national, state, and local elections. The leaders they choose will have a big effect on our world. Here’s what you need to know about Election 2020. 

    It’s been a year marked by major challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic has endangered lives around the world. To slow the spread of the virus, businesses have shut down, causing millions of Americans to lose their jobs. Millions more have taken to the streets to protest racism and police violence. These are the issues that people across the country will consider when voting in national, state, and local elections on November 3. The leaders they elect will shape our world for years to come. Here’s what you need to
know about Election 2020. 

1- Who’s running for president? 

Evan Vucci/AP Images (Trump); Mark Makela/Getty Images (Biden)

Fun Fact: Trump is 74 years old, and Biden is 77. Whoever wins will be the oldest president ever elected.



    The United States has two major political parties. These parties are groups of people who have similar ideas about how our country should be run. Each party works to have its members elected to positions in government—including the office of the president. So who are the candidates this year?

    Donald Trump, the current president, is running for reelection. He’s a Republican. Joe Biden, a Democrat, is running against him. Biden served as a U.S. senator from Delaware for 36 years. He was also President Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years. Trump is a billionaire businessman. In 2016, he became the only president who had never been elected to political office or served in the military.

    The United States has two main political parties. Each party is a group of people. People in the same party have similar ideas about how to run our country. Each party works to have its members elected to government positions. This includes the office of the president. The candidates this year include Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

    Trump is the current president. He is running for reelection. He’s a Republican. Trump is a billionaire businessman. Being president is his first political job.

    Biden is running against Trump. Biden is a Democrat. He served as a U.S. senator from Delaware for 36 years. He was also President Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years.

    The United States has two major political parties. These parties are groups of people who have similar ideas about how our country should be run. Each party works to have its members elected to positions in government—including the office of the president. So who are the candidates this year?

    Donald Trump, the current president and a Republican, is running for reelection. Joe Biden, a Democrat, is hoping to unseat Trump. Biden served as a U.S. senator from Delaware for 36 years and then as President Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years. Trump is a billionaire businessman and the only U.S. president who has never previously been elected to office or served in the military.

2- Why should we care who’s running for vice president? 

White House via AP Images (Pence); Robin L Marshall/Getty Images for BET (Harris)

Know This: Mike Pence is the current vice president. He is running for reelection alongside President Trump.



    The vice president takes over if the president dies or has to leave office. This year, we may elect our first female vice president. Joe Biden has chosen Kamala [KAH-muh-lah] Harris to be his running mate. Why is this important? The U.S. is often seen as a leader in women’s rights. But it has never had a woman in charge. (India, Germany, New Zealand, and 61 other countries have.)

    Yet being female is not the only reason Harris may make history. Her father is Black. Her mother is Indian American. If elected, Harris would also become the first Black and the first Asian American vice president.

    The vice president takes over if the president dies or has to leave office. Kamala [KAH-muh-lah] Harris is Joe Biden’s running mate. If Biden wins, Harris will be our first female vice president. The U.S. is often seen as a leader in women’s rights. But it has never had a woman in charge. (India, Germany, and 62 other countries have.)

    If elected, Harris will make history for another reason. Her father is Black. Her mother is Indian American. Harris would be the first Black and the first Asian American vice president.

    If the president dies or has to leave office, the vice president takes over. This year, we may elect our first female vice president. Joe Biden has chosen Kamala [KAH-muh-lah] Harris to be his running mate. This is important because the U.S. is often seen as a leader in women’s rights, but it has never had a woman in charge. (India, Germany, New Zealand, and 61 other countries have.)

    Yet being female is not the only reason Harris may make history. Her father is Black, and her mother is Indian American. If elected, Harris would also become the first Black and the first Asian American vice president.

.

3- How is Covid-19 affecting the election? 

Linda Parton/Shutterstock.com 

    Polls show that most Americans don’t want to vote in person. And many states have changed their rules, making it easier for people to do so from home. More than three-quarters of Americans will be able to vote by mail. The pandemic has also changed the way candidates campaign. Normally, they go to barbecues and shake hands with voters. They hold events to talk with news reporters. They speak in front of thousands of people. This year, most of those events have been canceled to avoid spreading the virus. 

    So how are voters getting to know the candidates now? Many are turning to social media. Both Biden and Trump are posting videos and hosting live events online.

    Because of Covid-19, most Americans don’t want to vote in person. Many states are making it easier to vote by mail. More than three-quarters of Americans can vote that way. The pandemic has also changed the way candidates campaign. In the past, they went to barbecues. They shook hands with voters. They talked with reporters. They spoke in front of large crowds. But campaigning that way might spread the virus. So this year, most of those events have been canceled.

    Voters are getting to know the candidates in other ways. Many are using social media. Biden and Trump are posting videos online. They are also hosting live events online.

    According to polls, most Americans don’t want to vote in person. Many states have changed their rules, making it easier for people to vote from home. More than three-quarters of Americans will be able to vote by mail. 

    The pandemic has also changed the way candidates campaign. Normally, they go to barbecues and shake hands with voters, hold events to talk with news reporters, and speak in front of thousands of people. This year, to avoid spreading the virus, most of those events have been canceled. 

    So how are voters getting to know the candidates now? Many are turning to social media to watch videos posted by Biden and Trump and to attend live events the candidates host online.

4- Besides the president, who else are we voting for? 

Mark reinstein/Shutterstock.com 

Know This: 470 seats in Congress are up for grabs!



    The U.S. Congress is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. In the Senate, 35 out of 100 seats are up for grabs. In the House of Representatives, candidates will compete for all 435 seats. Right now, Republicans hold a majority of seats in the Senate. Democrats control the House. November’s election could change that balance. That’s important, because the party that controls Congress has a lot of power. It often gets to decide what bills are considered. (A bill is a proposal, or idea, for a new law.)

    The U.S. Congress is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. In the Senate, 35 out of 100 seats are up for grabs. In the House of Representatives, candidates will compete for all 435 seats. 

    Right now, Republicans hold a majority of seats in the Senate. Democrats have the most seats in the House. November’s election could change that. If one party ends up controlling both the Senate and the House, it will have a lot of power. It will get to decide what bills are considered. (A bill is a proposal, or idea, for a new law.)

    The U.S. Congress is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. In the Senate, 35 out of 100 seats are up for grabs. In the House of Representatives, candidates will compete for all 435 seats. Right now, Republicans hold a majority of seats in the Senate, and Democrats control the House—but that balance could change in November’s election. That matters because the party that controls Congress has a lot of power and often gets to decide which bills are considered. (A bill is a proposal, or idea, for a new law.)

5-  How can you get involved? 

Eurobanks/Shutterstock.com

    If you’re not 18 yet, you can’t vote. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do your part. Study the candidates. Learn what they think about the issues you care about. What are they going to do about climate change? How do they think the Covid-19 pandemic should be handled? Talk to your friends and family. Tell them why it’s important to vote. In 2016, only 58 percent of American voters actually went to the polls. That’s a very low number compared with other democratic countries. You can help us do better! 

    If you’re not 18 yet, you can’t vote. But you can still do your part. Study the candidates. Learn what they think about the issues. What will they do about climate change? How would they handle the Covid-19 pandemic? Talk to your friends and family. Tell them why it’s important to vote. In 2016, only 58 percent of American voters actually voted. That’s a very low number. In other democratic countries, more people vote. You can help us do better! •

    If you’re not 18 yet, you can’t vote—but don’t let that stop you from doing your part. 

    Study the candidates to learn their positions on issues that are important to you. What are they planning to do about climate change? How do they think the Covid-19 pandemic should be handled? Talk with your friends and family, and tell them why it’s important to vote. In 2016, only 58 percent of American voters actually went to the polls. Compared with other democratic countries, that’s a very low number. You can help us do better! •

Tip: Ask your family members if they know when and where they will vote. If they have a plan, they’re much more likely to follow through!



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